Bill Nelson trails Jeb Bush in Florida

posted at 10:12 am on February 15, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

A new Mason-Dixon poll, reported by Politico, shows incumbent Florida Democrat Bill Nelson in danger of losing his Senate seat in 2012 — particularly against one challenger.  Nelson, serving his second term, falls short of 50% against all challengers in the poll, even the least known potential Republican candidates, a bad sign for an incumbent.  When compared to Jeb Bush, though, Nelson falls to 41%:

“Regardless of his many years of public service, Sen. Nelson’s reelection in 2012 is anything but a sure thing – in fact, any of his prospective Republican challengers is positioned to be competitive and possibly win,” said Ron Sachs, president and CEO of Ron Sachs Communications who commissioned the poll.  “This contest will be a national story, as will the fact that, if he ran and the  election were held today, former Gov. Jeb Bush would beat Sen. Nelson.”

In the poll of 625 registered Florida voters conducted Feb 9-10, 2011 by MasonDixon Polling & Research, Sen. Nelson fails to gain 50 percent support against any potential Republican challenger.

“Bill Nelson will clearly have a much more difficult path to victory next year than he had in 2006. He is in trouble if voters in 2012 are looking to throw out career politicians like they did in the past election,” said Mason-Dixon Managing Director Brad Coker. “The fact that Sen. Nelson currently can’t crack 50 percent against any GOP challenger in a head-to-head match-up, including several lesser-known lawmakers, is a clear sign of vulnerability.”

A survey released yesterday showed that Jeb Bush would lose to Barack Obama by over 2o points in a presidential race, making Bush one of the least desirable challengers to Obama.  Bush doesn’t have that problem at home in Florida.  He retired with high levels of job approval (in the 60s) and still wields potent political force.  When Bush broke from Charlie Crist last year over his veto on an education bill, it was devastating enough that Crist left the party within two weeks.

But it isn’t just Bush within striking distance of Nelson, either.  Rep. Connie Mack starts off at a 45-40 disadvantage, almost within the margin of error.  George LeMieux is much farther back at 49/35, but Nelson can’t get to 50% against him, either.  The same is true for Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who starts off almost getting doubled at 48/25 but still keeps Nelson from a majority.

Not only does Nelson fail to score 50%, but the poll sample may also be a little friendly to him, too.  It gives Democrats a four-point advantage, 44/40/16, but the exit polling from the midterms showed a different balance of 36/36/29 (rounding artifacts give us 101%).  That may balance out a little as Nelson does better with independents against all challengers; he still loses to Bush among unaffiliateds, but by a narrower margin, 42/45.

These are not re-elect numbers for Nelson, although he’s not doing as badly as his colleague Ben Nelson of Nebraska.  If Jeb jumps into the race, and that seems like a good fit, Nelson will be in serious trouble.


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But I thought Republicans were running scared in 2012. Or so Politico keeps telling me. And didn’t PPP just say that Florida is a lock for Obama in 2012 as well? That will be interesting. Obama wins Flordia, but a Republican knocks off the Dem incumbent.

Conclusion: ignore whatever Politico and PPP say.

angryed on February 15, 2011 at 10:17 AM

They didn’t need a poll for that. You have to understand that “Bush” isn’t a curse word in my neighbor to the south. At least not when the word “Jeb” precedes it.

The man would have won another term were it allowed.

amerpundit on February 15, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Bush (part III) is weak on immigration and offshore drilling… the Tea Party may oppose him in a primary (probably to no effect, but his past positions may haunt him).

mankai on February 15, 2011 at 10:18 AM

How long before he decries nativism?

artist on February 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

angryed on February 15, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Well, Florida is known to split.

For example, in 2010 they purged Democrats from their Congressional seats and Rubio won just about every county, IIRC. Meanwhile, Rick Scott just barely defeated Alex Sink, who actually led easily in the polls for some time.

Republicans didn’t do bad in FL in 2008 either, yet Obama carried the state at the end of the day.

They’re fickle.

amerpundit on February 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Jeb would make a great senator. he seems to like Florida, i hope he stays there….

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

I’m generally not in the business of pre-emptively disqualifying Republican candidates for higher office based on their standards, but nominating Connie Mack for that seat would be an utter travesty.

KingGold on February 15, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Guess FL likes Jeb–and it’s their choice. For President? Well……

jeanie on February 15, 2011 at 10:20 AM

When Florida goes blue, it’s because of double-registered New Yorkers. Hispanic Floridians are mostly Cubans, and the full-time Floridians I have known are not all that different from other Southerners.

I suspect the real estate crash in FL is actually wiping out the second homes of New Yorkers. It’s easier to dump a home on the market or walk away from a mortgage on a home if you already have another home as your primary residence. I suspect FL will go shockingly red next election.

Sekhmet on February 15, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Un Senador? Si! El Presidente? No!

A Balrog of Morgoth on February 15, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Connie Mack will run and narrowly beat Nelson.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on February 15, 2011 at 10:25 AM

A survey released yesterday showed that Jeb Bush would lose to Barack Obama by over 2o points in a presidential race, making Bush one of the least desirable challengers to Obama.

20 points?! Who the hell are these pollsters calling? Even George W. Bush would give Obama a competitive race right now.

Doughboy on February 15, 2011 at 10:26 AM

I would take him as a senator.

But by God, he’s a Bush. He’s heir to the throne. He shant run for a mere senate seat. The Presidential palace awaits in his future.

dforston on February 15, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Jeb running for senate in Fl would be good the gop POTUs ticket. It would get both the RINOs and conservatives out to the polls. Nelson doesn’t bring much to Obama but Jeb would make it easier for the Gop nominee to win FL in 2012

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Feb.2010 poll would have shown that the never-heard-of Feb. 2011 “high” figures have actually fallen.

Wheels are only churning that never quit, despite ’08 defeat.

Promote coverage of the most fiscal conservatives via new technology’s personal communications, and lose the “never heard of before” electoral drawback by making the unknown well known.

Accuracy of record will determine the fate of America. Promoting whole cloth smears in order to force your favorite crook over the top into office is not going to either postpone or solve our ruination.

maverick muse on February 15, 2011 at 10:30 AM

20 points?! Who the hell are these pollsters calling? Even George W. Bush would give Obama a competitive race right now.

Doughboy on February 15, 2011 at 10:26 AM

They’re calling the same idiots who are convincing the White House to continue running the Obama vs W dynamic that he’s been running into the ground for years.

That seemed like a decent plan when Iraq looked bad and the economic problems were “owned” by W. It’s becoming an increasingly bad plan for him as he starts to own the economy through his own blunders and his amateur hour efforts in foreign policy are removing all the anti-W spin of the media over the past 11 years.

teke184 on February 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM

I was kind of hoping Allen West would make a run, but I’d vote for Jeb.

John Deaux on February 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM

20 points?! Who the hell are these pollsters calling? Even George W. Bush would give Obama a competitive race right now.

Doughboy on February 15, 2011 at 10:26 AM

no. I think many republicans fail to understand the intense hatred of George W Bush. he left with 30% arrpoval for a reason. The bush name is mud in american politcs. Jeb would be smart to run in a local race like FL senate seat where his record and his personaility are well know as different form his father and his brother. a national race would make people think Geogre Bush no matter what Jeb said….

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM

I was kind of hoping Allen West would make a run, but I’d vote for Jeb.

John Deaux on February 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM

West would be great. i think he might hav ehis sights on the govenorship in 4 years.

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM

O/T:

the first signs of the double dip recession are occurring but people ar enot seeing it because the numbers are better than last year.

The Commerce Department said retail sales rose for the seventh straight month in January, but the increase was the smallest since June. Retail sales rose 0.3 percent last month, just half of what economists had predicted.

Kim Caughey Forrest, equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group, said higher prices for raw materials and commodities such as gasoline are beginning to be passed along to the consumer. That’s hurting retail sales and consumer spending, she said.

“Without wage gains,” she said, “people are going to buy less.”

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 10:34 AM

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

LOL! You forgot to mention how beautiful he is.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2011 at 10:40 AM

O/T the recession is there if people look:

the Commerce Department is expected to report that businesses added to their inventories for a 12th consecutive month in December, indicating further gains in production at U.S. factories that consumers are not keeping pace with production.

building inventories for 12 months is not a good sign. compaines build inventory when they think better times are coming. When the inventories continue to build month after month that means an over production (i.e business are wrong) and that means massive cuts in sales prices to manage inventory. an recent example of an industry that built inventories month after month was the housing industry. the inventory still sits unused and unbought.

Unemployment at near record highs, prices rising, sales falling inventories building……this is not good.

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM

I wish y’all could hear the drivel Nelson is putting out about Obama’s budget. I’m amazed he gets out of the teens in approval. Totally clueless.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM

LOL! You forgot to mention how beautiful he is.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2011 at 10:40 AM

glad someone is on the ball today….

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM

While the Bush name might have become toxic in Middle America due to George W’s bungling on Katrina and Iraq in 2005-06, Jeb Bush remained very popular in Florida during that time–lots of Independent voters, whose votes swing elections, supported Jeb Bush’s common-sense competence as Governor, and Jeb Bush could have easily beaten Bill Nelson in 2006 if he had run for Senate.

In a national election, Jeb Bush would have a huge handicap of being perceived as George W’s brother. But Floridians know that Jeb is his own man, was a smart and competent Governor, and would make a great Senator. He would be a welcome addition to a new GOP majority in 2012.

Steve Z on February 15, 2011 at 10:46 AM

A weak Republican candidate beat a well-known ‘rat shrew for the governorship. obama ain’t gonna win Florida in ’12.

Lanceman on February 15, 2011 at 10:48 AM

no. I think many republicans fail to understand the intense hatred of George W Bush. he left with 30% arrpoval for a reason. The bush name is mud in american politcs. Jeb would be smart to run in a local race like FL senate seat where his record and his personaility are well know as different form his father and his brother. a national race would make people think Geogre Bush no matter what Jeb said….

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Yeah, but Dubya is viewed a lot more favorably now than when he left office(as are most former Presidents). Chalk it up to a lot of his detractors realizing that Obama has been even worse and Bush being a class act since returning to private life, but bottom line is he ain’t as hated as he once was. Hell, some polls have shown a slight majority of voters preferring him over Obama right now.

I’m not saying Jeb would beat Obama if that was the matchup in 2012(it won’t be, BTW). But to say that he’d lose by 20 points is absurd. He’s far more articulate than his older brother. He’s got a solid record as governor. And he can appeal to Latino voters. There’s no way he’d do that badly.

Doughboy on February 15, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I don’t agree with everything Jeb says (particularly on immigration and offshore oil drilling), but he was a VERY good Governor.

FloridaBill on February 15, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Nelson is history…Crist and Nelson can share a vacation home down here, if they want something to do. My dog could beat Nelson down here…

Karmi on February 15, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Yeah, but Dubya is viewed a lot more favorably now than when he left office(as are most former Presidents)
Doughboy on February 15, 2011 at 10:50 AM

As a person yes. As a leader no. George Bush would get about 30% of the vote if he ran again. since bush got out of office and doesn’t have the power to screw with my life anymore I have found new respect for the Man. The policies he put in place are still screwing things up so on that score I would never give him nor his family power again.

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 11:02 AM

I’m not saying Jeb would beat Obama if that was the matchup in 2012(it won’t be, BTW). But to say that he’d lose by 20 points is absurd. He’s far more articulate than his older brother. He’s got a solid record as governor. And he can appeal to Latino voters. There’s no way he’d do that badly.

Doughboy on February 15, 2011 at 10:50 AM

On that I agree. but most people when given a poll with Palin in it showing her losing by the same amount never bat an eye. Most candidates start out with 40/40 You will never really get a 20pt lose in a POTUS election. The most you can hope for is like a 56/44 split.

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Well, Florida is known to split.

For example, in 2010 they purged Democrats from their Congressional seats and Rubio won just about every county, IIRC. Meanwhile, Rick Scott just barely defeated Alex Sink, who actually led easily in the polls for some time.

amerpundit on February 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

You can’t gerrymander a whole state, but you can gerrymander a district.

fossten on February 15, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Ex-Sen George LeMieux was selected by Gov Crist to fill out what’s-his-names term that just ended. I was pretty impressed with him and would vote for him in a heartbeat.

VBMax on February 15, 2011 at 11:05 AM

When Florida goes blue, it’s because of double-registered New Yorkers. Hispanic Floridians are mostly Cubans, and the full-time Floridians I have known are not all that different from other Southerners.

I suspect the real estate crash in FL is actually wiping out the second homes of New Yorkers. It’s easier to dump a home on the market or walk away from a mortgage on a home if you already have another home as your primary residence. I suspect FL will go shockingly red next election.

Sekhmet on February 15, 2011 at 10:24 AM

I suspect that the outrageous New York state ruling that allows New York to tax all income of those that own homes in the state may reduce the numbers of those that vote in two states, yet that’s barely touches the dual-voting problem.

I believe that many thousands of democratics vote twice in cities split by two states like Kansas City, St. Louis, etc.

The only cure for the dual-voting problem is a massive cross-check of all fifty-seven states voting rolls.

slickwillie2001 on February 15, 2011 at 11:07 AM

The way GW Bush handled the jailed Border Patrol agents turned me off to him forever.

VBMax on February 15, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Jeb should easily win Nelson’s Senate seat. For the most part he was an excellent gov for Florida and left office with decent ratings. Normally I wouldn’t suggest a good exec be wasted in the legislative morass that is the Senate, but he’s an exception. We do NOT need another Bush in the White House. We left dynasties and the aristocracy behind when America was founded.

Col. West would be excellent governor material which would set him up nicely for a future presidential run.

When Florida goes blue, it’s because of double-registered New Yorkers. Hispanic Floridians are mostly Cubans, and the full-time Floridians I have known are not all that different from other Southerners.

I suspect the real estate crash in FL is actually wiping out the second homes of New Yorkers. It’s easier to dump a home on the market or walk away from a mortgage on a home if you already have another home as your primary residence. I suspect FL will go shockingly red next election.

Sekhmet on February 15, 2011 at 10:24 AM

This. The natural inclination of Florida is more red than blue except for the New York/New Jersey union pensioners/retirees/snowbirds who tend to flock to the southeastern counties or to Pinellas County, blue blot in a sea of Tampa Bay red and home of the uber leftist rag, the St. Pete Times.

Kirin on February 15, 2011 at 11:18 AM

I suspect the real estate crash in FL is actually wiping out the second homes of New Yorkers. It’s easier to dump a home on the market or walk away from a mortgage on a home if you already have another home as your primary residence. I suspect FL will go shockingly red next election.

Sekhmet on February 15, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Yep. And not only in FL and not only NYers. Lots of Massholez have (or had) second homes in the Carolinas. Californians with second homes in Montana, etc.

Although given how screwed up voting rolls are, even if they foreclose on their vacation homes, they will still get an absentee ballot sent to them. And given they are liberals and therefore liars and cheaters, they will still double vote.

angryed on February 15, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Ed, I somehow get the feeling you and others on the right side of the aisle want to push Jebnesty on us. The Constiutional Right stuck a fork in this wanker ages ago. I wish the bloggers would stop dredging him up, using polls as the delivery method.

Why don’t you tell us about how he lobbied for a pardon for Cuban terrorist Bosch sometime?

Western_Civ on February 15, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Ex-Sen George LeMieux was selected by Gov Crist to fill out what’s-his-names term that just ended. I was pretty impressed with him and would vote for him in a heartbeat.

VBMax on February 15, 2011 at 11:05 AM

he seemed good but then he didn’t have to worry about re-election so he could vote his mind….

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 11:23 AM

A great big no to Haridopolos for U.S. Senator of Florida. The guy is working against the new governor’s efforts to rein in spending and taxes. Governor Scott deserves the opportunity to leverage his business experience to make an impact in striving for fiscal responsibility.

Haridopolos is a RINO. We’ve already got our share of guys like him in D.C.

jdflorida on February 15, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Jeb Bush is yet another establishment RINO that needs to be thanked for his previous service, and retired.

Rebar on February 15, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Bush (part III) is weak on immigration and offshore drilling… the Tea Party may oppose him in a primary (probably to no effect, but his past positions may haunt him).

That would be stupid…

the only politically organized TEA party group with any muscle gave us Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell…

ninjapirate on February 15, 2011 at 11:43 AM

the only politically organized TEA party group with any muscle gave us Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell…

ninjapirate on February 15, 2011 at 11:43 AM

And Angle got more votes than Reid. But when SEIU installs the voting machines….

angryed on February 15, 2011 at 11:49 AM

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 11:23 AM

I think the missteps of his buddy and mentor had more to do with him going right. Who would have thought that Crist’s place holder would end up endorsing Sen. Rubio? Very funny.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2011 at 11:51 AM

We Floridians don’t want anything to do with Bush. We ALL remember that he gave us “orange Charlie” and that he was too much of a wimp to get behind Rubio. We don’t like wimps here. Jeb is for shamnesty and the Cuban Americans aren’t. We want no part of any Bushes here.

ANYBODY beats Bill Nelson in Florida. He was a former astronaut and sided with Dumb-Ø to gut NASA. Too many J.O.B.S. were lost because of Nelson. There is nothing centrist about him. Nelson couldn’t be elected dog catcher.

Florida went R.E.D. end of subject. Orange Charlie left a real bad taste in our mouths for years to come.

We are too busy concentrating on getting rid of Wasserman-Ditz to care about Jeb.

Jayrae on February 15, 2011 at 11:59 AM

FL is, by and large, a red state. Period.

In 2006, Nelson won because he ran against Katherine Harris. No one liked her (whether fair or not). 2006 was a big blue wave, yet Republicans did well in FL, winning competitive House races and winning the governor’s race (Crist over Jim Davis).

In 2008, McLame was not a popular candidate here. Heck, Duval County (Jax) has a high military population, and Republicans always win in presidential election years in Duval County by at least 8%. McLame won 51-49 in Duval, which basically was a portend of how FL was going to break.

In 2010, FL came back to its reddish roots. Every race that was competitive went for the GOP. Rick Scott had a lot of baggage and was badly bruised in his primary. Yet he still eked out a win, despite many Floridians’ misgivings about him.

FL has only gone blue twice since Carter won it 1976: Clinton in 1996 and Obama in 2008. In both instances, the GOP picked bad candidates (Dole and McCain). As long as the GOP can field a decent candidate (I know, that’s not exactly a foregone conclusion that they will do so), we’ll take FL back…and that means Nelson’s seat, too.

crushliberalism on February 15, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Pro-amnesty and anti-drilling are justifiable deal-breakers for Republicans, especially those who want you to think they are conservative and not some weak shadow of their older brother. Still, it’s Florida’s choice and my opinion means zilch. The best I can do is send a few bucks to the (real) conservative candidate.

SKYFOX on February 15, 2011 at 12:23 PM

I like this idea. I think Jeb would make an excellent Senator, and it could set him up for 2016 if the GOP loses POTUS in 2012.

POTUS in 2012 ain’t happening, IMO.

cs89 on February 15, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Jeb is only running for one job.

His right to sit on the Oval Office throne.

PappyD61 on February 15, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Amnesty? Against drilling? I’d prefer not to have to put up with this guy and whatever negative influences he may have on Rubio.

Daemonocracy on February 15, 2011 at 12:55 PM

I hope my neighbors in Florida have the good sense to send Jeb to Washington on their behalf.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Jeb run for the top slot, but I’m not fond of the intense drama such a run would entail or the passion play the left would create when he won.

Jason Coleman on February 15, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Jeb would make a great senator. he seems to like Florida, i hope he stays there….

unseen on February 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

+1

Khun Joe on February 15, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Ex-Sen George LeMieux was selected by Gov Crist to fill out what’s-his-names term that just ended. I was pretty impressed with him and would vote for him in a heartbeat.

VBMax on February 15, 2011 at 11:05 AM

I’d vote for him. He did not become a lackey for Crist.

INC on February 15, 2011 at 1:49 PM

Would love to see Jeb take on Bill Nelson — bet Nelson wouldn’t run. Jeb would be my first choice over Connie Mack. I think LeMieux did a good job but his problem is he is tied to Sorry Charlie the new ambulance chase lawyer. Jeb is a better fit to take this seat Republican IMHO!

PhiKapMom on February 15, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Who says it doesn’t Snowe in Florida?

sonnyspats1 on February 15, 2011 at 8:19 PM